So, what’s it like having asthma? The first time I had an asthma attack I have to blame it on my younger sister. I was about sixteen, maybe seventeen and we were in Italy, at Gianni Minà’s house waiting for my parents who were arriving in a couple of days. Gianni, who’s a good friend of one of my aunts and a well known journalist in Italy, was working somewhere else in the country and never gave it a second thought to leaving us there to fend for ourselves (with a “governanta” who really didn’t do much but watch tv.
Anyway, we were already in bed about to go to sleep, when I told my sister to please, please smell my hand, I told her it smelled very funky, and I had just washed my hands. She did as she was told and could NOT find any smell to it (which needless to say, there was NO smell to it) but I kept asking her to smell it because I swore it smelled funky. She said “so, what I’m I supposed to be smelling?” and I replied “my ass” She got so pissed, that I started laughing so hard, I got a slight asthma attack. (what can I say, my sense of humour has always being a bit disgusting, hahaha… she started getting nervous because I could NOT breath and asked me to get me inhaler, NOW. Of course I had no inhaler at the time, asthma was just my excuse to skip Phys Ed. and one that hardly ever worked. I don’t remember having any more attacks till later in life when I started practicing Muai Thai (kickboxing) and going to the gym on a regular basis. Shit, I wanted to go to the gym to be healthy and now I have asthma? what the fuck is that? A personal trainer told me that a lot of people got asthma that way, it’s called “exercise induced asthma”. Ok, so now I’m REALLY fucked, there’s no way of reversing this crap! Besides, if I DON’T exercise, I’ll get fat, and I’ll feel like shit. But if I do, I’ll need an inhaler… oh, well. I guess it could be worse, right? I’ve ended in Hospital twice thanks to this damned thing, and believe me, it’s NO fun. Specially if you happen to have a nasty-ass fobia to syringes. The first big one I had, I was at home. It was about three hours before the OSCARS. My mom had a stomach ache and my dad had something else as well. I had inhaled my Ventolin twice as directed by the Doc. but I still couldn’t breath. No air was coming in, non was going out. So, I thought if 2 hits don’t do the trick, I’ll just take another hit… FIVE hits later and my heart felt like it was coming out of my chest. Damned thing was beating so fast, I was shaking horribly. We had lunch (well, I tried to, anyway with no luck). By now I really was feeling way beyond shitty, so I told my mom, “can’t breath, how about if I drive myself to the hospital (a five min. drive form home) and ask for some oxygen, I’ll come back in a bit, no worries, ok”. Needless to say, that didn’t fly with her, so she called my uncle the orthopaedic surgeon, and asked him if that was a good idea (after all, I had seen someone in a movie do that, so why wouldn’t it work for me?). Uncle said, “NO. have someone drive her not to Hospital Angeles, which is ridiculously close to home, but to ABC hospital, which at best without any traffic is about a twenty-five minute drive from home. he was calling ahead and asking someone to meet us there. My poor dad who was feeling like shit that day, got dressed and drove me to the hospital, worried madly because I not only could NOT breath, but now I had tachycardia, and his mom had passed away not long before from lung cancer. When we got there and I got admitted, I had to cover my face so they could stick me with a needle and get some fluids in me. He called my mom and told her I was going to have to spend the night there, so please “call a cab and get here NOW!”. My mom says he was green from nerves. I guess looking at me with a breathing tube up my nose, reminded him of his mother. Poor dad… Needless to say, I can’t take Ventolin anymore. I left the hospital two days later, if i remember correctly. Second time was much of the same. It sucks big time! so, what’s it like? To begin with, there are people who have trouble inhaling, some who like the movie, are “Waiting to exhale” and some (like me) who have trouble doing both things. When you can’t inhale is not as if someone is pinching your nose with their fingers, nope. it’s as if that bastard is pinching your nose AND covering your mouth with their hand at the same time. Have you ever had someone knock the air out of you, either by accident or on purpose? Well, it’s just like that. I have been ok for a while now, no more kickboxing for me, not worth it, but I still go to the gym everyday and carry my inhaler as if it was an AMEX CARD ad. “Don’t leave home without it” kind of thing. Mexico City sucks for anyone with asthma. first, you have the bloody altitude to deal with, and if that wasn’t enough we have a lovely pollution problem as well. I have never had an attack in any other city, anywhere else in the world. lived asthma-free for six years in Chicago. But as soon as I get to MC. I know that sooner or later, I’ll be using my inhaler. Today was a bad day for me, I went to a friend’s house for coffee and soon after I started breathing less and less. By the time I got home the wheezing was unbearable. Took 2 hits of the inhaler (I never want to repeat the tachy thing ever again and end up in hospital.*) I waited for a reasonable amount of time (about five minutes) before taking the other med, which is a “twisthaler”. Non seemed to work, so I took another 3 hits -bloody junky- and finally a cup of very strong coffee, which someone from Twitter recommended I take, and which I “kind’a” knew worked because “I had seen it in a movie”. It still took about thirty more minutes before I was fine again. But believe you me, having asthma SUCKS THE BIGGER ONE! (and yet, it’s the perfect excuse for leaving anyplace where you don’t want to be -room full of smokers, bad party, …church. “Sorry, I feel like I’m getting an asthma attack and I don’t have my inhaler with me. Would loooove to stay longer, but only if you promise to drive me to the HOSPITAL”. Well peeps, that’s a bit of what my life with asthma has been like. Never a dull moment…. *in hospital or at the hospital is correct, so, don’t even think of correcting me. Any questions?